Gray Whales Visit a Boat Captain for Some Regular Grooming

Gray Whales Visit a Boat Captain for Some Regular Grooming

Ask anyone who has an animal in their life, and they will tell you animals have the ability and desire to show love. This is also true of wild animals, and we have plenty of stories of people who get close to every wild animal imaginable, from lions to the local gray squirrel.

Another animal that fits into this category is the gray whale. We may not see them very often, as we live on opposite sides of the ocean's surface, but some people do run across them on occasion.

This includes a boat captain Paco Jimenez Franco. He is more than familiar with whales because he operates a whale-watching boat.

For over two decades, he has been sharing the waters of Ojo de Liebre in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula with his customers. People up and down the Pacific Coast know and recognize him, and that includes some gray whales in the water as well.

Sometimes, the whales get close to him, and when one did, he noticed she had lice on her skin.

When humans have lice, the only thing on their minds is how to get rid of them. They are uncomfortable, but that may or may not be the case with whales.

Some researchers think that the lice on gray whales, which make up part of the white patches you see on their skin, are relatively harmless. In fact, the Marine Mammal Center says that they may carry 400 pounds of those patches on their body.

On the other hand, The Guardian quoted a British zoologist, Mark Carwardine when he said: "I think the gray whales have a love-hate relationship with their whale lice."

He went on to say: "They have very sensitive skin, and thousands of these little creatures holding on tight, or moving about, with their exceedingly sharp, recurved claws, must drive them nuts."

If you are not familiar with what these lice look like, you can see them clearly in this picture:

One day, a gray whale got close enough to Franco that he was able to pick off a louse. It seemed as if he started something when he did it.

The Dodo reports that once he picked one off, she kept coming up to him again so he would remove more.

She even keeps coming back for additional visits so he will remove more lice. Even other whales have come for the same treatment.

One of the passengers on a boat trip, Jerome Evangelio, was able to take a video.

This truly is a beautiful interaction between humans and wildlife. It is also something that is probably not the best idea for everyone to do.

Interacting with whales and other marine wildlife, aside from allowable research, is not permitted. This is according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

At least we have these videos to enjoy!

Timothy Roberts

I love to write and it keeps me busy. I've been working online, full time since 1999. When you can't find me at the keyboard, you'll find me getting as much as I can out of life. I enjoy living simply, playing games, visiting the beach, and spending time with my family.

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